The Archival Technologies Lab is a site for the creation and practice of, research into and teaching about information work towards justice; environmental, social and legal, in pursuit of the aims of Queens College, City University of New York.
The ATL’s New Works series presents regular readings of recently published or forthcoming work or work in progress by scholars of record-keeping.
This reading is by Dr. Michelle Caswell, who is an Associate Professor in the Department of Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the co-founder of the South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA). Michelle will read from her forthcoming book, Urgent Archives: Enacting Liberatory Memory Work, published by Routledge.
Urgent Archives argues that archivists can and should do more to disrupt white supremacy and hetero-patriarchy beyond the standard liberal archival solutions of more diverse collecting and more inclusive description.
Grounded in the emerging field of critical archival studies, this book uncovers how dominant western archival theories and practices are oppressive by design, while looking toward the radical politics of community archives to envision new liberatory theories and practices. Based on more than a decade of ethnography at community archives sites including SAADA, the book explores how members of minoritized communities activate records to build solidarities across and within communities, trouble linear progress narratives, and disrupt cycles of oppression. The book explores the temporal, representational, and material aspects of liberatory memory work, arguing that archival disruptions in time and space should be neither about the past nor the future, but about the liberatory affects and effects of memory work in the present.